The Runaway Fair will take place this coming Monday, 17th October from midday onwards.
This historic fair, which takes place a week after the Michaelmas Fair, dates back to the fourteenth century.The fairs were the medieval equivalent of job fairs, where agricultural workers could find employment for the coming year. The Runaway Fair was named because it was a chance for anyone who had made a mistake at the Michaelmas Fair and had started work with a master who was perhaps cruel or untrustworthy or they simply did not get on with, to literally run away and find another farm to work on. Over the years the fairs started to include entertainments, side shows and refreshments. Today the Runaway Fair comprises a good variety of rides, side shows and refreshment kiosks on the Market Place and the High Street (to the junction with West St Helen Street). By law the Runaway Fair must take place in the streets detailed above on the Monday after the Michaelmas Fair.
Road closures, diversions and restrictions
To allow the Fairs to take place there are a number of road closures, diversions and restrictions. These are kept to a minimum.
From 8.30am on Sunday 16th October the Market Place and the High Street (from its junctions with Stert Street/ Bridge Street through to its junction with West St Helen Street), will be closed to all traffic. Traffic coming in to Abingdon (along Stert and Bridge Streets) will be diverted along East St Helen Street. Travelling along East St Helen Street, traffic is not allowed to turn right in to Lombard Street. It must proceed to the end of East St Helen Street and then either turn right in to West St Helen Street or turn left to go into St Helen’s Wharf and westwards over the “Iron Bridge.” Note that the iron bridge is in reverse flow during this period and traffic is prohibited from travelling in its usual eastbound direction over the bridge.
Abingdon town centre is also closed to all traffic over 7.5 tonnes.
Please follow all diversion signs and if you are not familiar with Abingdon’s roads, you are strongly advised to plan your route ahead.
The road closures and diversions are lifted when the Fair has left town and the streets are cleared. This is usually late on Monday evening (17th) or very early on Tuesday morning (18th). You must respect road closure and diversion signs until they are removed, even if the streets appear to be clear. The Council’s Twitter feed will be used to announce the lifting of the closures.